“Being 14” will premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival on April 18.
W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.
HZ: The movie relates the three young girls’ last year before high school. Set in the French middle class, it depicts their relationships, their confrontations with their male comrades and their will for emancipation. It’s about the identity you choose to adopt to exist in a group and about how you deal with the question of femininity.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
HZ: My own adolescence.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
HZ: Managing a team while being 23 and having no experience as a director before this first film.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?
HZ: A certain form of hope. Even when things are harsh to experience, life (nearly) always drives you forward. That’s the energy of adolescence.
W&H: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?
HZ: Some people think that this movie is hopeless. This is a misconception in my point of view. The characters experience some stuff and move forward. I don’t judge them. And I expect people who see the movie not to judge them, either.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
HZ: The film has been produced by Kristina Larsen, a French producer. When I was writing the script, I met a director, Benoit Jacquot, whom I asked to read the script. He introduced me to Kristina Larsen, who decided to work with me. She guided me through that first experience.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
HZ: The gender of an artist has no direct impact on the reception I have from his/her work. What’s important is his/her point of view. For example, I’m astonished by the accuracy of the feminine youth portrait that made Maurice Pialat in “A nos amours.” And I’m touched by the sensuality of Andrea Arnold’s movies, whether her camera follows female or male characters.